alex 🍌’s review published on Letterboxd:
i've got such a headache.
i really didn't enjoy this on the whole, but i'm going to start with the positives. everything that i think nolan does extremely well is here in spades. the whole thing is beautifully shot - the cinematography is crisp and the muted colour palette really works here (blues and greys have rarely looked so blue or grey). plus, the big setpieces are definitely big as heck - there are moments during the climax that are definitely amongst the grandest stuff in mr. nolan's filmography, and his commitment to doing everything he can with practical effects pays off.
the issue i've got is that this movie also really takes all of my common issues with nolan's movies and turns those up to max volume as well (literally, in the case of the sound design). the characters are pretty much all very stylish blank slates, none more so than 'the protagonist' (which, i cannot with the fact that he's called that). there are quite a few times where important, cathartic dialogue that would maybe help flesh them out a bit is completely incomprehensible.
the whole thing feels like a math problem where you can't quite figure out what one of the terms is - none of the actual plot reveals feel like a surprise and the core thrust of the plot (spy has to save the world from russian maniac) is nothing new. but the exact machinations of how we got from a to b and back again feel muddled and confused in a way that feels really frustrating, and seem to only be there to make it feel like there's more depth to the story than there is. there's no shortage of exposition, but none of it really gets beyond scratching the surface of the central conceit.
overall it's not hard to see why people who enjoy nolan's work for its' visual excellence and bombastic setpieces will get a lot from this, but i think i just need a lie down.